There are many business models for Internet cafe businesses, but you can use any variation or innovation within imagination to start a Internet cafe.
Traditional internet café
The traditional internet cafe has multiple user terminals (often 10 or more) setup in a commercial retail space, with staff members taking manual payments. Most traditional internet cafes have fairly cheap, low cost computers, which are often simply left installed on a desktop with minimal physical security. These internet cafes usually also offer add on services such as faxing, photocopying, laminating, CD/DVD burning, phone calls, food and drinks, and much more. The location of this type of internet cafe is critical to its success, so choice of location is important. Staffed internet cafes usually earn more than unstaffed sites because you can upsell other services and products, but then you have the added cost of labor, and the added stress of finding and managing your staff.
Gaming cafes often have up to 50 user terminals in a commercial retail space. These are almost always staffed, and often run gaming competitions and tournaments with cash or other prizes. Gaming cafes
have to keep pace with new game releases, and must use higher quality computers and perform regular upgrades and updates. Gaming users tend to have a high level of computer knowledge, and will often test the
software security and attempt to hack systems to bypass billing and file security.
Self serve internet cafes
These are usually fully automated setups with up to 30 user terminals and one or two fully automated self serve pay stations. This type of setup is often found in shopping centers, large airports, movie theatres, and other locations with high foot traffic. These sites are usually unmanned and the systems are fully automated. This means you avoid the ongoing costs of staff labor, but it also means you can’t offer too many value
added services like laminating, DVD burning, etcetera. Choice of location is critical, as too is the design of the furniture to both maximize security and to meet the approval of each centers management.
Standalone internet kiosks
Another popular business model is the single or double terminal internet kiosk. These units are standalone, and usually have a built in coin acceptor for a self serve model, or can accept codes or tickets for a staffed model. These units can be found in almost any public place, or within hotels and resorts. One advantage of the standalone internet kiosk business model is that it allows you to spread your investment over multiple sites, and hence over multiple industries and demographics, and thus reduce your risk. For example, rather than having 20 terminals in a single shopping center, you can instead have 20 terminals installed across various hotels, resorts, airports, and so on.
Information and advertising based kiosks
Similar to a standalone internet kiosk, you can also run information kiosks which can provide free access to a certain select range of websites. This is most commonly used in information centers or as a product showcase, and is ideally used in a business model by selling advertising space.
Wireless hotspots are a booming growth area. A wireless hotspot is a device that lets you provide internet access to customers who have a laptop, iPhone, iPod, PSP, certain mobile phones, or other WiFi enabled devices. A hotspot allows you to sell wireless internet access to customers who want to use their own laptop or mobile phone. HotSpots are often found in resorts, restaurants, train stations, airports, libraries, coffee shops, bookstores, fuel stations, department stores, supermarkets and other public places. These systems can be fully automated for 24/7 operation with online credit card payments, or can be set to use tickets or codes issued manually by staff. You can even use them to provide free internet access for a set period of time or download.
In room internet systems
It is also possible to deliver internet access to the rooms of a building by sending a signal through the telephone lines to each room using a device known as a DSLAM. This means that you
can easily provide broadband internet to every room of even in the largest high rise building. This is ideal for hotels, resorts, elderly care facilities, student accommodations, retail apartment
buildings, or even office blocks. These systems are not cheap, but provide a very stable and reliable solution, usually with very high levels of return.